China Soccer Sales Struggling

Only about 20,000 of the 120,000 tickets available for a tournament involving English Premiership soccer teams and China’s Beijing Guoan soccer team had been sold at press time.

The tournament is scheduled for July 29 and July 31 at Beijing’s Workers Stadium. Only the cheaper seats have sold, according to Beijing News.

Hampering sales is a report that Guoan will field a team of substitutes in order to save its best players for a crucial league match against arch rivals Chongqing Aug. 2.

Barclays, a Premier League sponsor, is backing the preseason tournament, which was previously held in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong. It has become a regular showcase in Asia for what is often called the world’s most popular soccer league.

In the Beijing tournament, Guoan is to play Hull while West Ham will face Tottenham. The winners of the two games will then play each other two days later.

The Chinese sponsors of the tournament have asked China’s Super League to postpone the Beijing-Chongqing match until later in August so that Guoan can use its best players for the Premiership tournament.